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My Father is a Communist

Father
Father

It has been sort of funny to me to hear syndics of the conservative right ranting about president Obama being a socialist. Their words seem to me completely without foundation. After all, one of his first acts as president was to bail out the American financial sector. What more does he have to do to show his loyalty to capitalism?

My father is a communist. He earned his phD in Marxist political economy. For the past thirty years he has been on the Economics Commission of the Communist Party. Growing up, I kind of just assumed that everyone had a communist father. It just seemed normal. I have since found out that this is probably not the case.

Anyway, the conservatives seem to be reaching back to a McCarthy era strategy. But what does it mean to be socialist? Is it an economic and social policy that should be condemned?

To learn more about my father and the basic tenets of Communism, I asked a friend of the family, Ellen Perlo, to field some of my questions. She is 93 and a long time member of the Party. Her late husband, Victor, withstood federal court hearings during McCarthy’s time for allegedly being a Soviet spy. The following photographs were taken during our conversation.

Ellen

Stan

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Adagios

ForestIn HudsonAdagio1Overview

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A Home Grown Revolution

ToolsA garden is a microcosm of a world, with all the problems of the outside world,” says my mother, Ruth.

Their are some exceptions. Vegetable gardens offer a source of food that is not influenced by fluctuating markets nor are they dependent on foreign oil. With the American economy teetering on the brink of a recession, acts of self-reliance are revolutionary.

Yard

Moms gardenIn a yard not much larger than two eighteen wheel trucks parked next to one another there is a world that yields an extraordinary amount of food. A marvelous cooperation of fertile top soil, rain, sun and human intervention has made this a prolific summer.

Hand

Beyond harvesting Brussels sprouts, kale, squash, string beans, cabbage, potatoes, beets and a variety of herbs, the yard is home to a few angora rabbits, chickens, a roaming black cat and a golden retriever.Rabbit

Ruth will spin the fleece from the rabbits. With the yarn, she knits some pretty wild things.Chicken

And fresh eggs…

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Slides from 2001-2005: An Apprenticeship with Color and Composition

Student

Kiongwani Secondary School, Kenya

Cerveceria

Nogales, Mexico

West Rim

West Rim, Crand Canyon

Hoover

Hoover Damn, Nevada

No war

Fort Benning, Georgia

Georgia

Fort Benning, Georgia

Leap

Santa Cruz, California

Limon

Mt. Limon, Arizona

Walla Walla

Walla Walla, Washington

Escalante

Escalante, Utah

Gunks

New Paltz, New York

NYC

New York, New York

SF

San Francisco, California

Chiapas

Chiapas, Mexico

Fruitstand

India

Umbrella

Milam Glacier, India

Milam

Milam Glacier

Reno

Reno, Nevada

Doves

New York

Time

Portland, Maine

Stony Point

Cold Spring, New York

Wheeel Chair

Portland, Maine

Bench

Portland, Maine

PeterThumb

White Salmon River, Oregon

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Ode on a Grecian Urn

by John Keats

 

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thou express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunt about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these?  What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit?  What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels?  What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal – yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape!  Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

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Recent Sketches

 

Brushes
Brushes
Dry Basil
Dry Basil

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Tonal Studies
Tonal Studies

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Study of Interior #1
Study of Interior #1
Study of Interior #2
Study of Interior #2
Woman with Dog
Woman with Dog

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Angora Rabbits
Angora Rabbits

IMG_2653

Storm King on Hudson
Storm King on Hudson
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Play

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